November 12, 2014 – 19 Cheshvan 5775

Thank G-d this week I have been able to return to my “normal” at home schedule and minyan routine. With the absence of the “saying kaddish stress” of the past few travel weeks I have had the opportunity to focus on the other constant reminders of my aveilus status and my mother’s a”h passing.

While without question the saying of kaddish multiple times a day every day for eleven months is by far the central focus of my year of mourning it is by no means the only significant change which affects my daily life. Like saying kaddish these other aspects of mourning impact me from the moment I awake in the morning to when I retire late at night.

Take for example the year-long prohibitions on: (i) wearing new clothes; (ii) listening to music, whether live or recorded; and (iii) attending social gatherings, dinner parties and events to name a few. Each of these and other prohibitions and customs cause me to be uniquely aware that I am in a year- long state of mourning, to remember my mother daily, and to contemplate her life and her loss. It really is incredible that our tradition “forces” a child to spend every day for an entire year thinking about and honoring the memory of a parent. Surely, it is intended in no small measure to impress upon the child just how much the child “owes” the parent for bringing the child into this world, for raising him, and caring for him.

Of course, no child-parent relationship is “perfect” and I find that the emphasis on honor and respect during this year of mourning causes me to think of and remember the positive and push aside the negative. An unexpected “benefit” of aveilus.

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